Hawks balanced scoring hold off Pistons 10 man rotation in final minutes

by | Mar 20, 2011 | 34 comments

Rodney Stuckey

Richard Hamilton was back in the Pistons lineup after missing the last game with a death in the family.  He was no help as the Pistons lost to the 5th seeded Atlanta Hawks 104-96 in Atlanta.

Coach Kuester once again utilized the 10 man rotation that helped pull out the win Friday night over the Knicks in Detroit, this time they came up short in crunch time.  The game was tight until the final minutes as Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith nailed key free throws to close out the game for the playoff bound Hawks.

On a bright note, Rodney Stuckey finished with a game high 22 points and tied for a game high 8 assists off the bench for the Pistons.  Super rookie Rodney White Greg Monroe finished with another double-double (17 and 10) while matched up against the more athletic Josh Smith.

Austin Day blocks Josh Smith
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Photo/Getty Images editing Need4Sheed.com

  • 3 Pistons played 30+ minutes, 7 others played 11-27 minutes.  Rodney Stuckey played 31 minutes off the bench
  • Detroit fought back from a 14 point deficit to get it to within 2 points after 1 minutes passed in the 4th quarter
  • Chris Wilcox showed out yet again with 18 efficient points off the bench for the Pistons
  • Detroit’s backcourt defense held perennial 6th man of the year candidate Jamal Crawford to 9 points in 30 minutes
  • All Star Center Al Horford finished with a double-double of his own – 18 and 10
  • Josh Smith flashed the athleticism and defense that Pistons fans have long wanted to see in the Pistons red, blue and white.  Smith has been a part of trade rumors started by Pistons fans, with Detroit being an ideal landing spot for the well paid Smith after the Hawks overpaid Joe Johnson this past off season.
  • Highlights via NBA.com

[flashvideo file=http://nba.cdn.turner.com/nba/big/games/hawks/2011/03/20/0021001036_det_atl_recap.nba_nba_576x324.flv /]

  • With Rip Hamilton back in the fold, Will Bynum was the odd man out today.  Jason Maxiell also didn’t see time on the floor
  • My least favorite player of all time had a game best +11.  Kirk Hinrich, acquired by the Hawks at the trade deadline for Jordan Crawford and some scraps from the Wizards, scored 15 points to go with 6 assists and 4 rebounds
  • After a game like today, I don’t think you’ll catch Natalie or I calling in to the Call Sam Studios to talk to Maaaaaahteen.  Tough loss for the good guys
  • Former Team Boney favorite Damien Wilkins is playing scrap minutes for the Hawks
  • Detroit fell behind early, and played the Hawks about even the rest of the game until the end when Detroit was trying to stop the clock
  • In NCAA news – Michigan State choked their way out of the NCAA Tournament, Oakland U played Texas tough while Michigan made it through to the 2nd round and fell to Duke 73-71

Detroit played well enough down the stretch to claw their way back into the game, but it’s tough to fully overcome such a deficit like 14, especially against a playoff bound team on their home floor.  This Pistons starting lineup seems to work best, it’s just a shame that Monroe is really the only young player on the roster that is capable of starting at this point.  Austin Daye has been disappointing and inconsistent, Rodney Stuckey has been wildly inconsistent when given starters minutes, and DaJuan Summers has been invisible.

Detroit now heads home to face off against Rony Seikaly’s former team, the Miami Heat.  Detroit does not match up well with the Heat in the backcourt but, it’ll be interesting to see how a matured Greg Monroe holds his own against the Miami Heat starting power forward.


  1. edt

    “This Pistons starting lineup seems to work best, it’s just a shame that . . .”


    our starters were 16 for 39 while our bench was 23 for 39, our bench was a lot more efficient, and if you take out monroe (6 for 7, 5 for 8 free throws, 10 rebounds 2 assists 3 steals) what did the pistons starters do except dig a hole

    Unless you are saying that our bench players perform tons better if they come of the bench. I honestly think we have a team entirely made of 6th men, and it doesnt matter who starts or who comes off the bench our starters are terrible and our bench players are really good. No rotation will change that.

    • Danny Bohnlein

      I should’ve put “this group of bench players seem to play best off the bench”

      Both units didn’t play exceptionally well except for Wilcox, in the short time he played. Both units played at or below the output of the Hawks, except for Tayshaun, Wilcox and Stuckey.

      But you’re right… although putting Stuckey in the starting lineup isn’t exactly the cure all for this team either, sorry junior.

      • edt

        and what is the reason for that? Perhaps the vets like prince wallace, mcgrady and rip throw tantrums when they come off the bench . . .

        • Danny Bohnlein

          and whose fault is it for giving in to those guys?

          Also, none of the bench guys have consistently shown they’re better at starting than the veterans except for Monroe.

          • edt


            I think we have given all our young players plenty of minutes, and most of them have had a chance to start and show what they can do.

            From here on out, it’s all just a big holding pattern.

      • junior

        stuckey is not wildly inconsistent when given starter minutes, the times he has put up bad numbers is when he is being played out of position (sg, he is a pg) or when he was getting low minutes. stuckey needs the ball in his hands so that he can start the offense or get his own shots. that is the type of player we got a derrick rose type pg not a (wait for it) chauncey billups pass first pg. so that is what we have to accept, get him in the starting lineup and show him as a franchise that he IS our future and that we trust him to run our offense. we cant be moving him all around and puttin doubt in his mind (thats just gonna make him try harder instead of playing naturally) he needs to feel comfortable not “in jeoporday”. sorry boney.

        • Drew

          Agreed on most counts. I think we filled Stuckey’s head with the “franchise” tag though, and that hurt him in the past. Stuckey’s a good player, and we need to pair him with other reliable players. And I agree that he works best as a ‘Derrick Rose lite’ type of point guard.

  2. Drew

    This game really didn’t do much for us other than confirm that Monroe and Stuckey are still our best players. Wilcox showed up again too; as long as he’s on this team, I still think he should be starting next to Monroe. The only reason those two starting next to each other didn’t produce wins was Kuester for some reason never seem to finish with those two at the 4 and 5. (He instead opted for crunch time lineups of three guards and Prince at PF 🙁 ). This needs to change.

  3. junior

    we need to resign wilcox he IS the athletic big we need. what u guys think?

    • edt

      absolutely not. even tho he is only 28 he has a few miles on him, he started in the NBA right out of high school, been playing between 10 and 30 minutes his whole career and had his biggest shot with the clippers/sonics (now ok city), but had a lot of difficulty, never learned how to do the post up game, never rebounded as well as he should with is size, scoring 14 points and 8 rebounds for that season split between the two teams.

      At time he has shown flashes of intensity he once had a 24 rebound game vs the rockets. In 2008 he had a pinkie finger injury that put him out for the season for the pistons he has had a troublesome groin injury.

      I dont know WHAT on earth is wrong with him, but something is not right.

      Think about this. This is his CONTRACT year. And yet . . . he waited until MARCH to start playing hard. You might think if it’s your contract year you will play hard starting in september, but clearly Wilcox only has about 1 month of effort in him per year.

      Like I said I’m not sure what the hell is wrong with him, he’s one of those guys that never lived up to his potential, never IMPROVED year after year, never went back to the gym to fix aspects of his game that were lacking. He might be one of those guys that thinks “Hey I’m making millions of dollars playing in the NBA that’s enough!” and never is desperate to get to the next level.

      • gordbrown

        As usual edt has gotten the the crux of the issue and described it well.

        • Tycoon

          I would say not bad for a back-up. Since when did Wilcox get really healthy? Since when did he get consistent playing time including starting role? I think he has thrived enough this year to prove he’s worth the re-sign. But ofcourse, not if we can get a better big than him.

  4. gordbrown

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Stuckey starting and frankly you could start him at small forward as far as I’m concerned. Stuckey has generally been responsible and a reasonable solution at either guard spot and sometimes puts up points, sometimes puts up assists and sometimes even does both. The problem is he has often had to carry the team by himself (I will say once again there is no way the Maxiel and Wallace should even be on the floor at the same time and how many games did we have them both starting?) and sometimes when that happens he gets frustrated and when he gets frustrated he puts his head down and when that happens every team in the league knows by now you can throw your knee into Stuckey and Stuckey will get called for the offensive foul. These things are all fixable. But not by making Stuckey your sixth man and putting him in when the starters have dug a hole.

    • edt

      we cant solve this problem with different rotations. we need new players.

      I want to keep stuckey, jerebko & monroe

      buyout rip, let prince, maxiell, wilcox, wallace, bynum, charlie, tmac summers leave after their contracts are up

      trade austin daye, ben gordon for a decent veteran

      grab a decent player with our #7 pick.

      fire Q, Joe D. Hire an “economical” coach, with our team in its 3rd year of full on tear down and rebuild mode, we have to save money for a good coach for later.

      • N1ck

        Nicely said, but it’s impossible to make all this moves…

        Joe D f…d up trying to rebuild instantly.
        This team is unbalanced and it sucks.

        Owner, GM, coach & veterans gotta go for the start.
        Let’s start over.
        I wanna see some fighting Pistons, don’t care if we make 20 wins.

      • Chad

        I agree with all of this except Tmac (jury is still out on Stuckey) – I’d like to see Tmac at the point with Monroe, JJ, and whoever else is starting.

    • Danny Bohnlein

      Stuckey is better off the bench, if he remains on this team, in my opinion.

      • Drew

        With all due respect, that’s crazy talk.

        • Danny Bohnlein


  5. Danny Bohnlein

    Actually – I don’t see where all the support for Stuckey comes from. His numbers have progressively gotten worse since the start of the season.

    • edt

      whats not to like about stuckey, he is the same oct, nov, dec, jan, feb, mar, he hits about 15 points per game, a little up or down month by month he gives you about 5 assists per game, goes to the line about 5 times per game, plays 30 minutes, gives you three rebounds, what is there not to like?

      Sure, I don’t think Stuckey has been using Rip Hamilton correctly, if he could see the floor properly Rip’s numbers would be way up, that’s what Joe Dumars thought when he signed Stuckey but Rip has been a problem for us, Rip doesn’t want to play coming off the bench he throws tantrums, and there was that whole A.I. thing going on for a long time.

      The pistons are awful and people blame Stuckey for it. I think he’s a part of the future, and still has a lot of potential to grow.

      There’s this sort of fantasy that if we had someone else besides Stuckey on our team we would suddenly be making the NBA finals, but the problem on our team is not offensive firepower we have that, we keep putting up ridiculous offensive numbers like 50% vs the Hawks and lose cause we got no defense.

      • Danny Bohnlein

        Rip throwing tantrums because he’s coming off the bench started this season – Rip’s numbers being way down from career averages started last season, Stuckey’s first full year of being the starting point guard.

        Stuckey shoots 42% from the field, how is that good? Who says that the team would be in the NBA Finals without Stuckey? This team is broken but if Stuckey were as good as I’m lead to believe, he’d be the kind of player who can put a team on his back and do it all himself.

        Stuckey has averaged 18ppg in Oct, 16 in Nov, 15 in Dec, 13 in Jan, 15 in Feb, and 12 in March.

        He’s not a guy who should dominate the ball for the team – 5 assists is not that fantastic of a number to hang your hat on. Please don’t tell me about Chauncey Billups’ numbers to this point in his career. Stuckey is not Chauncey Billups, as much as everyone here would like me to believe.

        • junior

          what happened in those months? stuckey was being moved all over he startwed at pg, that when his numbers were way up. then he was moved to sg, numbers stayed the same or down just a little, thats not his right position. then he went to the bench asa backup sg, wtf is that? if he was put in his spot which is pg and leavew him as a starter you will see his numbers back around 20 and 7. thats what he was putting up the first couple months, or close to it. if you ask me thats plenty good enough for our pg. those numbers are equal to if not better than what chauncey has ever put up as a piston. check it and you will see i am right.

          • junior

            im glad hes not billups i think stuckey is better than billups, the numbers dont lie. take that boney.

          • Danny Bohnlein

            Even on Stuckey’s best nights, and we’ll agree to disagree that’s when the Pistons win, he averages 18 and 6. So, in 20 games he’s played in this season that the Pistons have won, he’s averaged 18 points and 6 assists on 48% shooting from the field.

            He hasn’t been inconsistent?

            In 40 other games, 34 of which he started, that the team has lost, Stuckey shoots 40% from the field and averages 13 and 4.

            If 66% of the time Stuckey is playing poorly isn’t wildly inconsistent? I don’t know what is.

            Also – Stuckey has started 67 of 73 games this season.

            Also – Stuckey’s numbers are in line with what he did last season. He is scoring more efficiently, but just a hair more. He has yet to improve his jumper.

            Also, and this stat really irks me and causes me to question Stuckey’s work ethic even more – Stuckey plays his worst games when the team has 3+ days of rest.

            Chauncey Billups wasn’t a pass first point guard, he ran the offensive sets and found spots for his teammates. Stuckey has done that once that I’ve seen, and that was his 14 assist night the other night where he took 1 shot. Billups’ career numbers are far better than Stuckey’s numbers, and Billups was a jump shooter who rarely finished at the rim.

            Stuckey is a 6th man, at best, in my opinion.

            • junior

              thats some nice stat work boney but in the end stuckey is still well above the “average pg” in the league in asst 4.8 league 3, points 15 league 10.1, steals 1.1 league .9. so even iwhen he is playing inconsistent as you like to put it his numbers of 13 and 4 is STILL above the league avg for pg. with that said we both have a argument and good points as well. ill agree to disagree.

              • Danny Bohnlein

                yeah – Rodney Stuckey is a less efficient Beno Udrih.

                That’s exactly who should be starting for the Pistons

        • gordbrown

          I’ve seen this argument before and I still think it is exactly backwards. I think Rip’s poor attitude and prima dona behavior have hurt Stuckey much more than Stuckey being the point has hurt Rip. Although I suppose Rip’s aging might also be a factor. A team that starts both Wallace and Maxiel together at the same time is just plain not going to score a lot of points. And it’s worth noting that Atlanta yesterday was doing all manner of tilts to prevent Stuckey from penetrating and still he did a pretty decent job. I’d like to see some advanced stats on Stuckey’s scoring average given that he has been in and out of the starting lineup with no rhyme nor reason and he had some very low average games coming back from being sick and also coming back from that time that Anthony deliberately injured him.

          • edt

            theres some kind of beef between ‘melo & stuckey did you see how he tried to injure him again the last time they met? melo has some bad intentions and wants to hurt stuckey i dont know why

        • Drew

          Tell us how you really feel about it…

          I don’t know who’s leading you to believe that he should be carrying this team on his back. I think you’re one of the ones overrating him, if anything. This is the NBA, not college, where one player really can’t turn a team around–unless his name is Rose or James. I don’t believe anyone’s saying Stuckey is a Rose or James. One thing he has shown is that he is a player with above-average talent, and we don’t have many of those on our team other than Monroe, Jerebko, and maybe Prince. Everyone else shows flashes of talent but ends up wallowing in mediocrity.

          So what’s wrong with wanting to surround a solid player like Stuckey with some more above-average players? Let Stuckey start, let him get generous minutes, let him handle the ball, and give him more reliable options on offense. I’m sure you’ve noticed lately that he has been better passing the ball, especially when driving. Now his jumper may not be getting better, but adding this ball distribution to his arsenal is the one thing that’ll put defenses. Is he going to blow by me for a layup, or is he going to drop it off to a big? With this added skill, his shot selection has been getting stronger. He’s shooting above 43%, for what it’s worth. Not great, but not miserable for a guard.

          • Drew

            It’s hard to tell, but my post above is a reply to Boney’s post at 4:41 pm. And in reply to one of his other posts, Stuckey has not played in 73 games this season. The team hasn’t even played 73 games. I hope your other stats are correct.

            • junior

              i think stuckeys jumper is getting better, he might not shoot 5 three pointers a game but the ones he does shoot seems like they have been going in.same with his mid range jumper. im sure our own statistician boney will bring up the percentages so well see if im right or wrong. but it seems like he is making more.

              • junior

                oh and yes ive noticed his passing and vision is getting better.

  6. Jon

    At least Rip Hamilton is back in the fold, but the Pistons still aren’t very good.


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